An overview of Green Cities Florida in Orlando and hopes for a greener future

Green Cities™ Florida hosted in Orlando was May 20th & 21st at the Orange County Convention Center.  The overall focus of the event is to bring businesses and municipalities together to achieve green goals to save the planet, increase profits, and to qualify for possible federal funding.  The Green Cities™ conference will demystify ’sustainability’ and provide you with tools, steps and resources from top experts and educators. You will walk away with green strategies that will transform the way you think, live, manage business and govern in Florida.

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony and official “Flipping the Switch” for the new 1 MW Solar Electric System atop the Orange County Convention Center.  This is the largest installation of its kind in the Southeast US, and one of the largest outside of California and the Pacific Northwest. This installation was installed with the help of a $1.8 million grant from the state of Florida, an example of the kind of partnerships that Green Cities™ Florida advocates.

The City of Orlando and Orange County teamed up to make Orlando a Solar City. Through this partnership, OUC(Orlando Utilities Commission), the city and county will develop a strategic energy plan with the goal of increasing the use of solar technology and the amount of renewable energy in Central Florida.

Orlando's Mayor Buddy Dyer says he is proud and excited to unveil Green Works Orlando, the City’s first comprehensive plan to protect our natural resources, encourage environmentally-friendly lifestyles and business practices and engage everyone who lives, works and visits Central Florida in the effort to “go green.”   Green Works Orlando is an environmental action agenda designed to transform Orlando into one of the most environmentally conscious cities in America.

Where have I been?  Orlando is becoming or has become a "green city" or "solar city" right under my nose.  I just drove there and back twice in the last two days and will again today and tomorrow, for a Day Lily conference we are participating in.  How convenient it would have been, just to hop on the train and head back and forth.  But as I rolled by Sea World, Disney World, and all of the hotels on i4, I could not help to think about all of the energy, waste and water that is being produced to sustain them.

All of that aside, way to go Orlando!  Solar power and green initiatives, are we not speaking loud enough in the Bay area? It is about time we get that high-speed rail system we voted "yes" for in 2000 and again in 2004.  Hopefully one of these St. Petersburg Mayoral candidates will jump on to the green ship and take a solar trip to the stars.  Maybe Tampa will see through the maze of traffic and drop a commuter rail right down the middle of the new 275 expansion and power Ray Jay with the sun.

We can dream can't we?